Saturday, October 16, 2004

Matangi Isle Post Lucy Housewife Cinquain

So cruel am I to my readers that I am depriving you of the obverse of this card, which is the heavily pixellated face of a young Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), her hair up in the manner of a 1950s housewife, with her lips a shocking red and green eyeshadow lurking over her peepers. This is such a stunning image and remarkable mailing that my wife took this to her high school creative writing class for a short mailart unit. (Sometime soon, I will have to report on the results of that unit, but not until the kids' mailart flows into our home.)

This card is another surprise from kiyotei, who experiments with methods of creation and forms of work all the time. Even given his past surprises, I was amazed that kiyotei created this piece. He took the image of Lucille Ball as housewife and created a cinquain about housework on the back. Not only that, though: he also made a reference to Adelaide Crapsey, a minor poet most famous for creating the cinquain, an American form based on the "syllable"-count Japanese poetic forms (haiku and tanka).

kiyotei writes a poem using the original cinquain form (a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable count that somehow always reminds me of the shape of the Shakespearean sonnet). The form most people learn is a weird and deadly transmogrification created by English teachers to teach kids the parts of speech. These horrible cinquains consist of five word-counted lines in this pattern: one noun, two adjectives, three gerunds (AKA "verbs"), four adverbs (as I learned it), and another single noun.

If I weren't lazy right now, I'd go up to the third floor, and pull out my archives to find the cinquains I wrote in the eighth grade in Calacoto, Bolivia. But lacking that, enjoy kiyotei's work, not just the poem, but the right-angled bracket for the poem, the Matangi Isle postmark, etc.

kiyotei, "Vaccuum Life" (Oct 2004)

un violon d'ingres

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